February 25, 2020
by: Ciara Leilani
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be writing a blog about Harvey Weinstein, an American former film producer and convicted sex offender. However for the last 48 hours the Holy Spirit has been teaching me something in real time that the more I think about is actually an answer to several of my personal prayers. I’ve asked Him to show me the way of love in a way that is not at all the way the world would agree with. Show me the type of love that Jesus lived so I can try, just try to emulate that kind of love. So here it is. This is what transpired that reminded me that the living God was listening to every single word that I was speaking. Even the ones I spoke in jest. The following is a real account of my encounter with the Holy Spirit after recounting the Harvey Weinstein verdict.
It was late Monday evening on February 24, 2020, when my husband and I began to discuss the watershed moment known as the Harvey Weinstein verdict. A 67 year old multi-millionaire and media mogul, was found guilty in New York on Monday to one count of third-degree rape and one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, but was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape. He faces a sentence of five to 25 years on the most serious charge. Though he was acquitted of the two most serious charges, predatory sexual assault, his charges and subsequent conviction leaves no room for doubt that justice in some shape or form has been served. During this trial, six courageous women testified that Mr. Weinstein, in no other way to describe except diabolical perverted ways, sexually assaulted them.
Headlines of this trial have flooded mainstream media including Twitter feeds as millions combed through his life, his friendships, professional associations, and the Hollywood elites obvious silence. “For so long these women believed that he was untouchable and could never be held responsible, but now the criminal justice system has found him guilty,” said Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement. “That sends a powerful message.” A powerful message indeed, but I would like to discuss an even more powerful message that seems to get lost in the fury when human emotions deem so. The powerful message Jesus taught for three years just before His death.
This is where my conversations with my husband picks up. As experienced professionals in law enforcement, we began discussing what prison life would like for Mr. Weinstein. My husband having worked in a state prison for a significant time and myself having investigated sexual crimes committed in state prison, both of us knew his life there would neither be long nor pleasurable. The hatred most inmates have towards convicted rapists and pedophiles is palpable the day they get processed in. This hatred would make it extremely miserable for him to live out his sentence. This is where I ignorantly and without consideration of the power of my words pronounced a literal death sentence over Mr. Weinstein out of my mouth. “Harvey Weinstein is not going to live long in prison. He will die fairly quickly,” I said. Considering the odd but real code-of-justice that convicted felons have in prison against pedophiles and rapists, I stated with certainty he would have no significant chance of survival. At the moment that I said these words, as if the Spirit of the Lord was waiting for me to say them, He immediately spoke to me in response. He said,
“Is there anything that he has done that I cannot redeem him from? I desire that he too receive the same amount of grace that I have given you and others for My glory.”
In that moment, I had a real choice. Continue believing the lie that Jesus has a tiered grace system for sin or accept the conviction of those weighty words. As I stood brushing my teeth I looked directly in the mirror, tears began to fill my sockets as I asked myself, “When did I start thinking some sin is greater than another sin?” At that moment I remembered so much that Jesus had forgiven me for. So much compassion and emotion filled my heart that I began to weep in gratitude then replied, “You are correct Lord. I apologize. I have stood before this man with a stone in my hand behaving as if his sin is greater than my own.” Then as if He wanted to teach further, He said,
“I want you and your husband to pray for Harvey, that he would live and come to know me even in prison. I can turn any heart around that surrenders to me. The Cross paid it all.”
Ok at this point I was so filled with both conviction and compassion that I went straight to my husband who was sitting on the couch doing some work on his laptop and said, “Honey I want to tell you something the Lord just shared with me about Harvey Weinstein.” His eyes opened wide as if he held his breath with anticipation. He just stared at me. I told him what the Lord said to me and asked if he would pray with me for Mr. Weinstein. Without hesitation he got off of the couch, knelt down on his knees and we both began to pray for him. These were sincere prayers that could only have been led by the Holy Spirit. Our hearts did not have the capacity to understand this kind of love or compassion. It was as if we were praying back to God, His own desires for Mr. Weinstein and the individuals that currently hold stones in their hands. The way we prayed let me know that every single word we speak is without a doubt either giving the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Darkness permission to move and become activated. As Christians, we are called to literally love as Jesus loved. As hard as that is sometimes the good thing is that we don’t have to have it all figured out with God. The mistake is believing otherwise. Knowing that I had become judge and jury by virtue of the power of my words, right there in that moment of full transparency with my Father in heaven I said,
“Father I need you to soften my heart and break me apart for the lost. All of them, not just the ones I have deemed worthy of your love, grace and pardon. Through my faulty tiered system of righteousness I have judged this man and probably so many others who I have not felt deserved YOUR grace. I needy you to pierce through the ugliness that seems to rise up when it seems socially acceptable and biblically supported. Lord, give me faith to trust what you say even when it does not line up with how I feel. My eyes have been opened, and I cannot unsee how you lived your life. You poured out your life, on the least of these and that includes the Harvey Weinstein of society. Help me to remember that your love is great and you are good all the time. Thank you for forgiving me of this sin that in your eyes, is just as what Harvey was convicted of.”
I realize not many people of Christian faith will agree with what my husband and I did. We had the audacity to pray for a man who by literal evidence physically harmed and psychologically traumatized human souls in the most despicable ways any human being could, all while according to heaven’s account still has a purpose for living. Because he still has breath in his lungs. What would the world look like if Christians all across the globe began to travail through deep intercession, for the Harvey Weinstein’s of society? A sexually deviant predator who wasn’t just convicted by a jury of his peers but also the body of Christ. We don’t have that right nor can we afford to if we do not want that same judgment. Matthew 7:2 warns us,
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Can we even begin to imagine what would happen if we entered the Courts of Heaven and petitioned the highest judicial system to show these men and women the deeply embedded roots that are the real source of their behaviors? How about if we used the authority that Jesus Christ gave us, the Body of Christ to expose and bind each and every unclean spirit (demon) harassing, using and tormenting people Christ died for? I get it! Trust me no one wants to diligently pray for a person that preys on the vulnerable and the weak. Especially someone that doesn’t seem remorseful of their actions. Why would you want to pray for someone like that? Here’s the thing, your heart can’t without a heart change and that is why the Holy Spirit is here. He will do a mighty work in you so that He can use you. I don’t know about you but I have said repeatedly to the Lord, “Here is my life would you use me. I choose you Lord. Break me for your glory and use my life to lift up your likeness.” Upon releasing those words, I don’t get to dictate how Jesus decides to use me. The moment I gave my free will to Him, the rest remained in His hands at that point.
As a gatekeeper of my own life I must remain submitted, surrendered to God and resistant to the devil so he cannot use this heart of mine. I chose to repent for this judgment so that the enemy would have no legal right to enter into my life through that opened door. My overall assignment in the Kingdom of God is both an individual calling as well as a part of the overall purpose of the Body of Christ. As believers, it is imperative to remain engaged and in close proximity to the Holy Spirit for the New Covenant to remain evident in our lives daily and families.
I leave you with this. If you are someone who has a family member in prison or facing time in prison, I believe you would do anything for them to have a Presidential pardon. That pardon carries the highest earthly authority. If you are a victim of a crime that caused you sincere pain, and trauma I believe you would want justice, retribution and restitution for what was done to you. Both of these scenarios is what Jesus Christ does and has done. He pardons the unpardonable, heals the deepest wounds and restores what was once stolen. There are levels to love and plenty of room in these levels to grow and the way of the Kingdom is always contrary to what will feel natural for you to do. That is why every believer in Christ needs to ask him to soften their heart, to open their eyes and the understanding of their heart. This will bring healing for the deep brokenness within.